Residence for study purposes

Residence permit

If you are studying at one of the many universities and comparable educational institutions in Münster or if you want to apply for or prepare for a degree course, you need a residence permit for the purpose of studying.

The residency purpose „studying“ includes:

  • Basic / foundation / undergraduate studies
  • An additional or complementary degree course (postgraduate studies)
  • Doctoral studies
  • Part-time studies
  • German classes to prepare for a degree course (only intensive courses with at least 18 hours a week)
  • Preparatory college (Studienkolleg)
  • Remedial courses
  • Work experience required for admission to studies as well as internships accompanying studies
  • Subsequent practical activities, provided that they are part of the mandatory training.

Please bring...

If you wish to apply for or extend a residence permit, please bring the following documents (unless you have already submitted them):

  • Certificate of admission or current certificate of enrolment
  • Certificate of attendance at a language course, preparatory college or other preparatory measures for a degree course
  • Your valid passport
  • A passport photo
  • Proof of financial guarantees (starting with winter semester 2019/20: blocked account with credit balance of 861,- € per month /  10.332,- € for one year; parental guarantee; declaration of commitment in accordance with § 68 of the Residence Act)
  • Proof of your health insurance
  • If you've been studying for several years: Performance records (overview of examination results; certificates)
  • A completed application form
  • Fee up to 100€

However, experience has shown that additional documents are often required. This depends, for example, on your nationality or level of education and varies from person to person. During your visit, we will clarify whether we need any further documents from you.

Attention: If you wish to extend your residence permit, please apply or make an appointment several months before the expiry date. If you have already studied for some time, please do not forget to bring up-to-date performance records with you.


Duration of the residence permit

As a rule, a residence permit for the purpose of studying is issued for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years. If your studies or study preparation take less than 2 years, you will only be granted a residence permit for the duration of your studies or study preparation.

As a rule, the permit will also be extended for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years. However, the residence permit will only be extended if a degree has not yet been achieved and can still be achieved within a reasonable period of time. As a rule, an appropriate period of time is no longer given if the average duration of a degree course plus 3 semesters is exceeded. In addition, a total stay of 10 years for the purpose of studying should not be exceeded.

Furthermore the following particularities apply:

A residence permit for the purpose of applying for a degree course can only be issued to you for a maximum period of 9 months.

You should not need more than 2 years to prepare for your studies. After this period, your study preparation is generally no longer considered appropriate.

Changing degree courses

As a rule, a change of a degree course or a study subject within the same field of study is permitted during the first 18 months after the start of your studies. Thereafter, a change is only permitted in exceptional cases (e.g. if academic achievements are accreditable and a degree can be obtained within a short period of time).

Changing your residency purpose

If you have successfully completed your studies, you can apply for a residence permit for another purpose. For example, a residence permit for the purpose of employment can be an option. A residence permit can also be issued for the purpose of  job seeking (for more details: After graduation). In addition, it is possible to take up a postgraduate, supplementary or doctoral study.

If, however, your studies were concluded without a degree, a change of the residency purpose is only possible in the following cases:

  • Change to a vocational training
  • Change to another residence permit if there is a legal entitlement to it (e.g. in the case of a residence permit for family reunification)

During a degree course, a change to another purpose of residence should generally only be possible if a legal entitlement exists (e.g. in the case of a family reunification).


Students are allowed to work 120 whole days or 240 half days a year as employees. In addition, student part-time work is generally permitted without time restrictions (i.e. work at a university or at an institution associated with a university as well as mandatory internships). You do not need a separate work permit for this.

However, if your residency purpose is applying for a degree course, you are not allowed to work at all.

If your residency purpose is to prepare for your studies you are only allowed to work during the holiday period in the first year of your preparations.

If you wish to take up self-employment or freelance work, you must apply for a separate work permit at our offices. 

Attention: Whether and to what extent you are allowed to work will be specified in your residence permit.

The following applies to all employment: Your studies must not be endangered by your job.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We will be happy to help you or tell you where you can find assistance.


Foreigners' Registration Office
Rechts- und Ausländeramt

Stadthaus 2
Ludgeriplatz 4
48151 Münster

Postal address:
48127 Münster

Tel. 02 51/4 92-36 36
Fax 02 51/4 92-79 71

Opening times information desk:
currently closed

Emergency office hours:
currently closed

Opening times for appointments:

Mondays to Fridays:
8 am - 12.30 pm

Mondays and Tuesdays:
1.30 pm - 4 pm

Thursdays: 1.30 pm - 6 pm

Hotline +49(0)251/4 92-36 36:

Mondays to Fridays:
8 am - 12.30 pm

Mondays and Tuesdays:
1.30 pm - 4 pm

8 am - 12.30 pm
3 pm – 6 pm